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A couple of months ago, I upgraded to Slackware 13.1 from version 12.0, which I had been using since July 2007. Prior to that, I was using 10.2 for almost 2 years. Before this, I was pretty much upgrading to new versions as they were released... all the way back to version 7.0.
As I get older, and other things in life take up more of my time, I find that I'm not so keen to upgrade something which works.
I used Fedora until 2008, F8 was the last verison of Fedora I used. Due to the short life cycle of Fedora I switched to Centos 5. I've been running Centos 5 ever since and never had a problem with it. When I do have time I do play with other distros in a VirtualBox.
-Rolling, no need to reinstall over and over : check
-Up to date : check
-Sound in Java : check
-Sun JDK/JRE : check
-Speed : check, but that's to be expected, it is a newer machine...
-Educational : big check, I need a disto I can learn something from. Granted, I could have learned more from LFS, but hey, I'm not that accomplished yet...
I keep updating my Linux installations to ensure they're bleeding edge (and in most cases do it by adding new package repositories [like Maverick ones to Lucid]), but I have had Ubuntu since Jaunty and Mint since 7 "Gloria". If you count the years before I got the new network adapter and before I switched back to WinBloze (briefly), I actually used Ubuntu Hardy and gOS 2 "Rocket" as well. Those were the days, but now I consider Linux my passion.
Distribution: Slackware (mainly) and then a lot of others...
I am very impressed with Vector linux. This is the one that stays on the computer I use the most. Sadly they do not have the option to upgrade but then I always reformat the drive before installing a new one.
I agree with OP that the upgradation should not be done simply beacuse there is an issue you cannot solve. Forums like these exist for this very reason.
Learning the distros is something one should try doing.
So distrohopping is not recommended